Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Folks Traveling From Florida To NY, NJ, MI, Etc. Will Feel Like They’re Going Through Check Point Charlie Into A Dark Place

In 1963 as I crossed through Check Point Charlie from West Berlin into communist controlled East Berlin, I had a foreboding I’ll never forget. It was like switching from a happy technicolor musical to a film noir.

Only after returning to West Berlin did that dark mood lift.

Traveling from Florida to New York, Michigan, New Jersey, California, etc. now would be similar. It would be like going though Check Point Charlie, to a dark, dreary place where sad people with heads down walk the streets; residents are locked in and can’t visit relatives or friends; bars, restaurants, and gyms sit mostly empty or closed; you can’t visit grandma in her nursing home;  churches are abandoned; your kids are locked out of schools, all enforced by authoritarian governors, the police, and power-crazed local municipalities.

Only when I got past the machine gun-toting border guards and their leashed snarling dogs and back into West Berlin did I feel a sense of relief. I couldn’t forget those poor people held captive on the east side of the Berlin Wall. Is it any different for those now living in New York, Michigan, New Jersey, etc.? If it was their residents and businesses wouldn’t be fleeing those hellholes and flocking to Florida.

We are indeed fortunate to live in the Sunshine State,  governed by reasonable, optimistic, no-nonsense Governor Ron DeSantis. He’s ensured that we maintain our freedoms, wisely and sternly telling local municipalities like the power-hungry twits populating Fernandina Beach’s Ash Street city hall to put their mask mandates and more where the sun doesn’t shine. Our schools are open, businesses are booming, infections are down, vaccinations readily available,  beaches are packed, and tourists and new residents are pouring in. The only problem is getting people off the federal government dole to fill the many job vacancies.

In addition Gov. DeSantis has ensured that our streets are safe from the criminal chaos like that taking place in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Oakland, etc. For example, Florida’s Senate recently approved “anti-riot” legislation championed by DeSantis, who instantly signed it into law.

The bill permits citizens to sue a local government if that government does not stop a riot and “defines ‘riot’ as a violent public disturbance involving three or more people acting with common intent resulting in injury to others, damage to property, or the imminent danger of injury or damage.”

The bill “creates a new second-degree felony called an ‘aggravated riot,’ which occurs when the riot has more than 25 participants, causes great bodily harm or more than $5,000 in property damage, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or blocks roadways by force or threat of force.”

DeSantis stated:  “This legislation strikes the appropriate balance of safeguarding every Floridian’s constitutional right to peacefully assemble while ensuring that those who hide behind peaceful protest to cause violence in our communities will be punished. Further, this legislation ensures that no community in the state engages in defunding of their police.”

The bill prohibits “specified assemblies from using or threatening to use imminent force against another person to do or refrain from doing any act or to assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint under certain circumstances; (require) a minimum term of imprisonment for a person convicted of battery on a  law enforcement officer committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot … (prohibit) defacing, injuring, or damaging a memorial or historic property; providing a penalty; requiring a court to order restitution for such a violation … (reclassify) specified burglary offenses committed during a riot or an  aggravated riot and facilitated by conditions arising from the riot … (require) a person arrested for such a violation to be held in custody until first appearance … (prohibit) cyberintimidation by publication; providing criminal penalties; (prohibit) a person from inciting a riot (while) providing an increased penalty for inciting a riot under specified circumstances.”

“The parts of the bill (HB 1 ) that most upset Democrats grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road; prevent people arrested for rioting or offenses committed during a riot from bailing out of jail until their first court appearance; and impose a six-month mandatory sentence for battery on a police officer during a riot,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Gov. DeSantis also pulled no punches describing President Biden when discussing the visceral anger and hatred emanating from the political left in America after the 2020 election, correctly calling Biden an “aggressive left-wing culture warrior.”

Gov. DeSantis spoke with the Fox News Network’s Tucker Carlson this past Tuesday, who asked about the left: “Why did they get angrier when they won?”

“I think they have a fraction of their base that is just perpetually angry,” DeSantis commented. “I think they’re very caustic and nasty. I think unless they make us a complete socialist country, these people are never going to be happy, and I think that even though Biden’s been the most left-wing president of our lifetimes, I would say, even more than LBJ —LBJ wasn’t as left-wing on the culture as Biden is, and Biden is an aggressive left-wing culture warrior — but I think anything short of complete domination of conservatism, making sure people that have conservative views are shut out, anything short of that, they’re just not going to be happy.”

He added confidently, “I think they’re captive to that part of their base and I think that’s ultimately going to be their undoing in 2022 and then I think probably in 2024.

In addition to the sunshine and beaches, we have the most reasonable and empathetic governor of all 50 states.


Dale “Big Spender” Martin

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: Is Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale “Big Spender” Martin nervous?

He recently penned a letter to Nassau County Manager Taco Pope asking him if he would take a look at the county absorbing the city’s out-of-control Building Department, an irresponsible city function that city residents rightfully have good reason to despise.

In his letter Big Spender told Mr. Pope: “The Fernandina Beach City Commission has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of merging City of Fernandina Beach Building Department operations with Nassau County Building Department operations.” He stopped short of asking for a meeting or explaining that the city’s function is a total corrupt wreck.

The county’s building department performs the same function and enforces the same state codes as the city’s woeful function. And it does it cheaper, more efficiently, and generates praise from residents. What’s not to like about a merger idea?

Jack Knocke, a founder of city watchdog group Common Sense, sent a note to his members earlier this week asking: “Why did the City Manager not ask the City Commission to make the ask? The City is making political theater to confuse residents.”

He said that Dale Martin making an inquiry is insufficient. “The county needs to know that the City Commission is serious about considering a change,” says Knocke.

Knocke rightfully pointed out that the Commission appears confused about who it represents. He quoted tone-deaf and clueless California transplant Mayor Mike “Left Coast” Lednovich as saying about the April 6 “Building Workshop session: “Our building department and personnel came under withering attack, withering attack for their conduct, some maybe true and some maybe false”.

“The citizens might be lying!” says the mayor.

Is Left Coast Lednovich accusing Fernandina citizens of lying?  “What about the citizens who came under attack?” asks Knocke. “Who does the Commission represent?” Left Coast Lednovich apparently thinks he was elected to represent Big Spender, not a vocal group of locals who complain that they’re being ripped off by a corrupt city building function and ignored by officials who look the other way. Both Lednovich and Big Spender wrote opinion pieces in the News Leader defending the Building Department and its head, Steve Beckman.

Big Spender’s letter to Mr. Pope may have been triggered by the fact that a highly influential group of city residents are considering a trip to Tallahassee to request that the state Attorney General look into the shady shenanigans going on in the city’s errant building function as well as the utility department’s  impact fee shakedown tactics.

Did someone remind Big Spender that using water and sewer impact fees, or any impact fees for that matter, for purposes other than ameliorating the impact caused by new development is unlawful? Impact fees once collected remain the property of the person paying them. They are to be held in trust by the municipality until lawfully spent. The state law puts the burden on the municipality, if challenged, to prove with a preponderance of the evidence that the funds were lawfully expended.

What the City Commission is allowing Martin to do is not mismanagement, it’s breaking the law.

Hopefully the State Attorney General’s office will light a fire under the Commission and halt the Big Spender’s illegal spending spree.


A Trail Of Tripe By A Trio Of Twits: President Joe Biden, Vice president Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had an opportunity Tuesday evening to explain to the world how well the justice system in the United States works following the conviction of police officer Derek Chauvin by a racially mixed Minneapolis jury.

Instead, they broadcast to the world that America is an evil systemic racist country.

If that’s true – which it is not – why are all those brown and black-skinned people pouring over our southern border risking their lives and those of their children to get into this country?

The day of the Chauvin verdict House Speaker Pelosi held a press conference and said: “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice. Your name will always be synonymous with justice.”

George Floyd never sacrificed anything for anybody. He was a drug addict and a career criminal. You don’t become a saint for trying to pass a bogus twenty-dollar bill. Floyd was a man who spent his entire life robbing and terrorizing innocent people, once holding a loaded gun against the abdomen of a pregnant woman because he was sure she had drugs or money hidden in her home.

Claiming that George Floyd’s name will be synonymous with justice is like saying Bernie Madoff’s name will forever be synonymous with honesty and integrity.

Any sane country would have put this deranged old bird out to pasture years ago?

Biden and Harris teamed up to echo Pelosi’s blather, calling America “systemically racist.”

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that that Chauvin having his knee on George Floyd’s neck had anything to do with race? Race was never brought up in the court room. Not once.

The Chinese, Cuban, Russian, Iranian, etc. propagandists can go on vacation. Biden, Harris, and Pelosi are doing their jobs for them. As Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said “Biden has gone full ‘wokerista.’ He’s dividing the country and he needs to stop it now.”

I know that somewhere in the world there are idiots who actually believe all the BS Karl Marx wrote. But I really never expected to hear it coming from the morons running things in Washington, D.C.  We have it too good in this country to allow this insanity to continue.


Things I Wish I’d Said: “The Second Amendment has done more to make women equal than the entire feminist movement.” – anonymous


Vapor Currency: Has anybody ever seen a Bitcoin or a Dogecoin? I haven’t.

I’ve seen representations of them on TV shows when financial “experts” discuss them. But I’ve never seen one or met anyone that has. Maybe that’s why they’re called “cryptocurrency”, “crypto” derived from the Greek word “kryptos” meaning hidden or secret.

If I had a Bitcoin allegedly worth $56,000, could I hand it to the clerk at Circle K to purchase a  $2.60 Slurpee and expect her to give me $55,997.40 in change?


Say The Magic Word And Get Fired: During the 1950’s Groucho Marx TV quiz show “You Bet Your Life” Groucho would tell contestants at the beginning: “If you say the magic word, the duck will come down and you’ll split $100.” The word was usually a common household one and if a contestant uttered it a plastic duck with $100 stuck in his bill, would be lowered from the ceiling and the two contestants would split the C Note.

Currently there’s a magic word that can’t be used in the newsrooms of the New York Times and the Washington Post and most college campuses. It’s a word that supervisors can’t use to instruct employees not to use because they’ll get fired for using it, and many have been sacked for just that. Employee indoctrination goes something like this: “There’s a word you can’t use because you’ll be fired but I can’t tell you what that word is because I’ll be sacked for saying it.”  

The newsrooms at the New York Times and Washington Post resemble a sketch out of the 50-year-old old Monty Python TV series.

The hilarious routine is “Killer Joke”, a sketch about a joke developed by the British military during World War II that is so funny that anyone who reads or hears it promptly dies of laughter. The fatal joke is contained, weaponized, and deployed against Germany during World War II. It is considered so deadly that following the war countries agree to a joke warfare ban at the Geneva Convention and the last copy of the joke is sealed and buried in the tomb of the “Unknown Joke” never to be heard again.

Like Monty Python’s “Killer Joke”, the Post, the Times and college campuses have weaponized a “killer” word. For example, colleges and newspapers have fired or forced employees to resign for using the word – not because the user’s intentions were hateful or malicious –  but because they used the word or one that that sounded similar to it to explain why the word shouldn’t be used or how it was used in literature.

Got that? People can get fired or forced to resign at these insanely stupid progressive institutions for telling employees a word that they can be fired for mentioning.

Maybe the Pentagon should look into weaponizing this insanity. It may be more effective than hurling the wrong pronouns at enemy soldiers.


The Wall Street Journal Says: “Chinese leaders don’t mind the Paris Climate Accords because they know it  binds them to nothing while Western nations will harm their economies with new regulation and misallocated resources. The Chinese must be dumbfounded that a U.S. administration wants to kill the shale natural gas boom that has kept energy prices low and made the U.S. less reliant on foreign oil.”


We Need More MLK & Less Karl Marx: When I was a youngster I was impressed with the courage demonstrated by black folks that would integrate southern lunch counters and restaurants by sitting quietly and futilely waiting for service while ignorant whites launched vile epithets and more at them.

The non-violent tactics displayed by Martin Luther King that he adopted from Mahatma Gandhi were effective and eventually the abhorrent Jim Crow laws were outlawed. It took longer than it should have, but it worked, and we now have a fully integrated country despite what Democrat race baiters and shakedown artists like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson claim.

Someone needs to educate the folks in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, etc. about MLK and his effective strategy. These ignorant thugs protest by conducting civil rights looting demonstrations in liquor stores, walking out with full cases of booze. They’re doing the same in Wal-Mart, etc. by taking large screen TVs or anything else they can grab while pretending they’re fighting for racial justice.

It’s a political statement when you peacefully protest in the streets or sit peacefully at a lunch counter. When you break a window and steal a case of booze or a TV it’s a felony, no matter how they spin it at the New York Times the Washington Post or CNN.


Folks Worth Listening To: “Every tragic killing of a black person is amplified by radical progressives to accuse police of white supremacy and to push for defunding and anarchy. The more law enforcement officers we lose to defunding, early retirements, and drastic cuts in recruitment, the fewer we have to patrol lower-income neighborhoods. Homicides among lower-income minorities soar. Meanwhile, the cries of the 81% of blacks who oppose defunding the police are chronically ignored.” — Robert L. Woodson Sr., founder, and president of the Woodson Center.


Fomenting Violence Pays: The co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, not only owns a $1.4 million house in the exclusive Topanga Canyon, adjacent to Malibu Beach, but bought three other homes this past year for nearly two million dollars. She now owns even more homes than that other dedicated Communist, Bernie Sanders.


This From West Coast Columnist Burt Prelutsky: A Jewish man decided to eat his Passover lunch in the park. Naturally, it included the traditional unleavened bread known as matzo. After a few minutes, a blind man approached and took a seat on the bench.

After the two men exchanged comments on the weather, the first man passed over a sheet of matzo.

The blind man handled it for several seconds, looked puzzled, and finally exclaimed: “Who the hell wrote this? It’s absolute rubbish!”


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Olivia Hoblit, general manager of the new 239-room Marriott Courtyard & Springhill Suites hotel complex on Atlantic, just yards from Main Beach, tells me the facility will be welcoming guests starting May 12. The Springhill complex features a full restaurant and a Tides Bar and Grill, with an indoor and outdoor bar overlooking the pool. The Courtyard boasts  a bistro. If your cranky Aunt Eunice and eccentric Uncle Wally are headed this way and you want to steer them away from your guest room tell them to call (904) 261-1919 for the Courtyard and (904) 491-1221 for Springhill. Room rates for the Courtyard are $260-$350 while SpringHill Suites are $285-$375. There is an additional $15 a day charge for one of the 300 parking spaces. There are five event rooms totaling 6,060 square-feet of space with a maximum capacity of 350 people. To take a look go to- Meeting Space & Event Venue in Amelia Island ( The facility is managed by Innisfree Hotels with corporate offices located in Pensacola.

  • Comment (16)
  • Dave: please correct the caption under your caricature of me. It is a gross error. I never said what you are reporting in the caption. I said the City Commissioners were hearing a “he/she said” version of events, some of which may be true and some which may be false.
    I also answered Mr. Knocke’s major points of his email, which is public record. The email is as follows (note misspelled words as written by Mr. Knocke):
    Jack: thanks for the email. I will address your major points.
    You wrote – The alarming takeaways from the workshop were specific and tangible legal concerns that the city has overstepped their authority. Tresspassing and illegal searches are serious accusations that should be investigated. What has the city done to investigate these alligations?
    My answer: The City Attorney has not received any formal, written complaints of accusations of laws being violated by City Building Department staff. If an official complaint is filed with the City Attorney, it will be investigated. The City has addressed informal allegations of inappropriate behaviors with the Building Department Director.
    You wrote – In fact, the County Manager stated that he would be “happy to coordinate a meeting” and that until the City Commissioners ASK the County Commissioners to address the transfer, he could not expend resources. Why did the City Manager not ask the City Commission to make the ask? The City is making political theater to confuse residents.
    My answer: Following up on the City Manager’s letter to the county, The City will formerly ask the County about taking over the Building Department on May 25th at the joint City-County Commissions meeting. Misinformation is what is confusing residents.
    You wrote – The city is continueing to run citizens through a gauntlet in so many ways. Yet, at the April 20 city commission meeting, Mayor Lednovich had the gaul to say “our building department and personnel came under withering attack, withering attack for their conduct, some maybe true and some maybe false”. Is the Mayor accusing citizens of lying? Seriously, what about the citizens who came under attack. Who does the commission represent?
    My Answer: The definition of withering is: intense, devastating. The objections against the Building Department have been exactly that. Lying? I can cite one citizen allegation of wrongful building department conduct that is false. Lying is your word, not mine.
    You wrote – Led by Commissioner Ross, four of five commissioners support building department inspectors wearing bodycams. Commissonier Bean, the only reasonable voice in the room, noted that the city could logically extend to every customer service representative in the city with a body cam? Where do we stop? Very intelligent response! Commissioners pointed to the excess reserves from excessive fees saying, that there is “plenty of money in the building fund to justify” the expense.
    My Answer: Body cameras on in-field building department staff will “document” interactions between staff and the public they serve. Absent video evidence, we are left with “he said this/he said that” versions of events of customer interaction. No other City staff is being accused of unlawful/abusive conduct, so to say every city staff member have a body camera is ludicrous.
    The City Commission has put in place a series of proactive measures to address the concerns regarding the Building Department and the quality of service provided to our citizens. These measure are being taken to improve our service to the City we serve. We can and will always strive to do better.
    Regards, Mike

    Please get your facts correct in supporting your arguments. “The lie” is to your readers and your reporting published in that caption.

    • Mike, a year ago you and one of the beach patrol officers stood on the beach in front of my home and took a picture. The picture was placed in the local paper. The caption under the picture said something to the effect that “all was well on the beach.” There were around 20 under aged drinkers directly in front of you that I had reported. In fact, while you were getting your photo op a truck driving illegally past the beach parking signs did a u-turn near you. You had a misguided agenda. Thus you missed or turned a blind eye to the truth slapping you in the face. Just like that sunny beach day, I think you wear blinders when it comes to the city’s real needs. Nothing you say is believable to me any longer.

    • Mr. Lednovich, one only has to read Mr. Scott’s blog for a few weeks to conclude that he often misrepresents the truth in order to create fodder for his weekly rants. While I understand your motive for setting the record straight, and would likely do the same were I in your shoes, I hope you take heart in knowing that there are those of us who take Scott’s words for what they’re worth. In the words of the defense attorneys for Tucker Carlson and Sidney Powell, “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”

  • I strongly disagree with your interpretation of the current situation with the Building Department. Only about two weeks have passed since the first meeting where folks could publicly voice their concerns, and I have been personally impressed with how seriously the City Commission and City Staff have handled the situation. The City Commission asked Dale Martin to work on a fairly lengthy list of possible actions after that initial forum was held, and after the report provided by the City Manager at Tuesday’s meeting, it appears that the City has addressed or is in the process of addressing every single one. I do not know what more you could expect of them. As someone who deals with the Building Department on an almost daily basis, I am extremely grateful that Stephen Beckman appears to be listening to the concerns of the citizens and the City Commission, and is working on implementing meaningful change. There is clearly more work that needs to be done, and from the conversation that took place at Tuesday’s meeting, it is clear that the Commission and the Building Department intends to stay focused until all valid concerns have been addressed.

  • Dave, thank you for providing a more complete version of Gov. DeSantis’ new law. It is a great model for less enlightened states to inact.

  • Dave,

    I’m wondering if when DeSantis becomes President if you could run for Governor???

  • I asked Mayor Lednovich exactly what he knows to be false in the presentations to the City Commission. He should provide the proof. I am investigating.

  • Dave:
    Back when I was still building in the city the manager of the Building Department Shakedown then was Bob Sasser. Near as I could tell the state building code was used then as now to extort funds from citizens for poor service. We finished a building last year in the County and sent a thank you note to the County Manager for his team’s high quality service during a challenging time. Wonder how many of those city officials get. Me thinks Mr. Lednovich protests too much. The answer seems simple. If he really wanted to deliver high quality service to city property owners outsource to the County. City residents are County residents too. Same code, a mostly commodity service available right across the street at a rational price.

  • Dave, I know you will cite this as just another example of my sticking up for the city, but your criticism of Dale Martin’s request to the County instead of the City Commission is unfounded. As the City Manager, Dale is in effect the COO and the Building and Planning Departments (as do all other departments) report to him. It is certainly appropriate and lawful for the request to be sent from him as he was directed to do so by the City Commission. His letter made it clear that he was doing so at the request of the City Commission. As has been noted elsewhere, the City Commission expects to conduct a formal discussion of the issue with the County Commission at their next joint meeting. As you are well aware, the FL Open Meeting laws prohibit two elected officials from meeting outside of a publicly advertised meeting to discuss any matter which may come before their body.
    I fully understand the frustration of those dealing with the Building Department that feel they are being treated unfairly and such situations need to be fully investigated. As to body cameras, the city commission needs to be careful what they ask for. While they would generally provide an accurate description of the encounter, there are substantial costs to such systems in terms of acquisition, maintenance and data storage. Just ask the Police Department that has had them for years.

    • Yep, Dave, you’re right; just another example of you being a Serial Sycophant for the city. The FL building code is administered by various levels of local government. The solution is not formal discussions, studies or town hall meetings. The solution is called Competition. City residents are also county residents. Let folks choose between County and City service and watch the city Building Department either vastly improve or disappear from a lack of demand.

  • Mayor Lednovich clearly demonstrates he has the time to read and respond to this blog’s critiques of the City’s Building Department operations. However, one would expect that the same effort would have been applied to the approval of 2020-2021 City Budget (currently found on the City’s website). As indicated in the Budget’s table of contents, the Building Department is discussed on pages 145 and 146. There is nothing substantive or current on those pages. Nothing. That suggests the approving parties, including Mayor Lednovich, did not read the document prior to giving their approval, or they choose not to question why the section was prepared and submitted in such a haphazard and neglectful manner. If you cannot manage input into a document as important as the City’s Annual Budget, how can you manage the department?

    • Einstein taught us that facts are a relative thing.
      One person’s “fact” is another person’s “mistake”.


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